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Their Polished Sound, Raw Attitude And A Bass With A History
Smit-Haus
I mean, there's people we go to see regularly in New York, just because it's a good hang. A lot of what's with this band is, it's a good hang. - Brian Griffin
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] May 2002 Feature: Smit-Haus
Smit-Haus

About six years ago, vocalist Christopher “Smitty” Smith and guitarist Martin Small put together an eight-piece funk band while attending Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. They remain its two original members, and an insatiable attitude with club owners has brought their progressive-pop to New York and New Jersey area clubs.

Smith started out only as the band’s vocalist. When Blues Traveler's bassist Brooklyn Bobby Sheehan died tragically in 1999, an opening was left for Smit-Haus' bassist at the time, Tad Kinchla, to join his brother, Chan, in Blues Traveler as Sheehan's replacement. Kinchla took the gig with Blues Traveler, but left his gear behind so Smith could learn the instrument. Smit-Haus stayed alive, and soon added drummer Brian Griffin along the way.

The band has a polished sound that keeps true to its raw roots. They meet the challenge of relaying their emotions through their musical instruments head-on without relenting when reaching that point. This is not easy, but both their recorded music and live show reflect their to desire to leave behind showing off their chops for the higher purpose of feeling the groove.

Crafting a great song comes first. Their songs mix moody verses with upbeat choruses painting a picture of the darkness and lightheartedness love can create. This sentiment is backed by brutally honest lyrics. Their words talk directly to the subject of the song, pleading for understanding, forgiveness or longing for the source of blame.

Smit-Haus looks past the mechanics of music and creates a chemistry that serves to foster the message within their lyrics. Their songs follow life’s moods musically and lyrically. They experiment in the studio and Small brings an assortment of effects to gigs that would make U2’s The Edge jealous. These additions open doors to their songs and never overshadow their main focus, feel.

Smith’s vocals are sarcastic and friendly to the melodies of the band’s songs. Griffin’s cymbal-heavy drumming brings life to them with heartbeat rhythms. Small is a master of the upbeat guitar upstroke, giving Smit-Haus a jazzy foundation. He paints pictures with effects and his overall guitar attack. Saxophone player Sam Albright hits the right spots with his note and phrase placement and smoothes the sound out with breezy solos.

The band’s work doesn’t end on stage. They assemble professional press kits and politely search the country for gigs. Persistence is important in a business where many close the door on you at first reflex. In the end, their insatiability on and off the stage tends to pay off.

Most of our interview with Smit-Haus took place April 12 at Toms River’s Silverton Hub. Other portions were added at later dates.

Ok, I guess the boring stuff first. How did you guys form? What was the line-up, you know stuff like that, when you first started?

Martin: The band started, actually … Smitty and I went to college together. We went to Brown, up in Providence, Rhode Island. [That] was in the fall of ’96. And it actually used to be a big band. It was like a seven-piece funk band.

Ok.

Martin: So it had a full horn section. We had trumpet, saxophone and trombone, ah ...

An early Smit-Haus photo from a 1997 Campus Dance

Smitty: And a girl back-up singer.

Martin: And a girl back-up singer. So it was about eight people. We finished college in ’97, moved to New York City and a kept writing and stuff. And we put out a funk record called Basement Funk in May ’98, which we did ourselves. You know, pretty much marketed it ourselves. Not with overwhelming success or anything like that, but we definitely got some of the music out there. Um, started gigging a lot in the city and then the band kind of went through a couple of structural changes. Uh, our drummer left and then our bass player left.

Smitty: Yeah. Once we graduated college it was a little bit logistically different, difficult because, obviously, we were based in Providence at that point. And then, like, four or five of us moved down to the city. Three of the other people were displaced, you know, either in Boston or Providence. And so, depending on people’s commitment, it just kind of faded that way. We actually had … at one point, the last bass player we had was this guy Tad, and I guess that was ’98.

So, when you guys started was it just you two [Smitty and Martin] or was it all three of you guys?

Martin: It was the two of us and five other guys.

Smitty: I think the band is … in some ways I don’t even associate that band with this one but, you know, except for me and Martin.

Brian: And it’s the same name. That’s about it. Usually we play one or two of those tunes, from that early record.

Martin: I’d say the band, in this incarnation as a four-piece, really came together in 2000.

Brian Griffin

It was late ’99, early 2000, we re-grouped basically as a four-piece and we met Brian through our old trombone player in New York. He started filling in a little bit and eventually he started filling in forever. And he introduced us to Sam and some other folks. But, basically the band as it is now, I’d say is really a 1999 on [band] … and then we really started getting together and writing as many tunes as we could. And then went in to do the record, the six song CD in April of 2001. That’s kind of the story and then, since then, it’s been just this group of guys.

Are some of you musically trained? Did you go to school for this?

Brian: Smitty studied some piano and he plays all the time. Martin studies guitar regularly and I happened to go to music school after college for a couple of years. So, in our own ways … I mean, you know, I’ve met a lot of people that are a lot more serious [about the] drums or any instrument [than] I am sometimes and I feel like ... It’s what gets me up in the morning.

Martin: Sam went to music school at Indiana University. Yeah, I mean there’s gotta be some formal musical training. I think that stuff just generates into chops, in terms [of] technique and stuff like that.

Brian: More than that, it gets us to hang around more musicians. Martin studied with Wayne Krantz. Smitty did a lot of open-mic nights, a lot of us just met other musicians. Just been around other musicians. More importantly than the text book material and learning your instrument and learning the music and mechanical stuff. You just start getting around people and you learn more and more about what the good feelings of other musicians are.

I mean, there’s people we go to see regularly in New York, just because it’s a good hang. A lot of what’s with this band is, it’s a good hang. You know Tad [Kinchla]? He plays in Blues Traveler now, but he was the bass player in this band. Awesome bass player. I mean, hands down, just an awesome, awesome bass player.

And then he left, you know, once he got the gig with Blues Traveler, and it was like, ‘What, are we gonna get another bass player?’ And we thought about it for a while. Smitty did some solo gigs. I didn’t see these guys [for] a couple of months. Screw it, the hang is better, just the four of us, so Smitty’s like, ‘well, I’ll just learn bass.’

Smitty: Well, I was playing a little bit of guitar, some rhythm stuff at that point. So, I mean, I knew obviously the fret board.

Smit-Haus at the Grog & Tankard (Washington, DC)

And now you’re playing five string [bass]?

Smitty: Yeah, actually, it’s Tad’s bass. He’s actually been amazing. We’re still good buddies with him. All his gear I’m still using. And that’s Tad’s bass, but it was Bobby Sheehan’s [Blues Traveler's original bassist] bass before that. Then he handed it down to Tad.

Martin: That thing’s got some miles on it. Some real history.

What kind of bass is it?

Smitty: It’s a Modulus. They make their necks out of graphite. They’re great basses. They sound great. They look awesome. One of the ideas is people who sweat warp their necks a little bit. [It causes] serious problems with … whatever the minerals in their sweat or whatever.

How did you start to learn how to play bass?

Smitty: I mean, I knew, obviously, the fret board because I play guitar. Actually, when I learned guitar and stuff, a lot of it was finger picking. So I think, some of the technique kind of was like, ‘you do this again.’ And actually it came a little bit naturally. And that was it. I studied a little bit with this guy Carl Thompson. A lot of it’s been me just playing along to Sting stuff and different people that I’m interested in. And picking up some stuff from Tad. But there’s no like set course that I’ve been on.

So you [don't] all of a sudden start playing bass. Does that change who you start listening to musically? Do you start listening to more bass players and stuff?

Smitty: I don’t think it changed who I started listening to. I think it changed a little bit what I listened to in the songs. Definitely.

Do you listen to the bass [parts] more now?

Smitty: Yeah. A little bit listening to bass lines, but also particularly people that sing and play bass. Sting …

Martin: Winger. (Laughter.)

Smitty: You know, like the guy in Rush.

Geddy Lee, I was going to say. I think your voice sounds kind of like Geddy Lee.

Smitty: I don’t think it changed what I listen to, but a little bit how I listen to stuff. Some of the Meters stuff that we were into a long time ago. Focusing a lot more on feel and how they accomplish that feel.

That was great for me because I really had to listen and be like … I’m a crucial part of the rhythm section right now as oppose to some of the stuff when I was playing guitar. I was playing a lot [but] because Martin’s such a good player you couldn’t hear me as much in the mix per se. I’m gonna guess that’s the only thing that’s changed.

How much of what you guys are doing is improv?

Martin: In our original tunes, not so much. Those tunes are pretty thoroughly composed. The solos and rhythm parts I try to keep the same as I did on the CD. I’ll embellish a little bit here and there, but I try to keep it as close to the record as I can.

On the other hand, when we play the cover stuff, I find that I never play it the same way from night to night. He doesn’t sing it the same way. Brian never plays the same thing. I try to listen to the vocals and drums and I try at least to respond to what’s around me.

Smit-Haus Goes Acoustic at Martell's (New York, NY)

Smitty: It depends on the set as far as the extent of improvising. When we have Sam, I mean, Brian can solo too, but people don’t always want to hear a drum solo and stuff.

Brian: Not since the 70’s. (Laughter.)

Smitty: Martin and Sam are the guys who can solo. So when [Sam’s] here and we get into more of the funkier stuff, there’s definitely more soloing. If we’re doing, like, a forty-minute set in a place that is, like, here’s gonna be all of our original stuff, then not so much.

Martin: Especially with the cover stuff, too. We try to keep it so the people are like, ‘oh yeah, that tune, I like that song, I know that song.’ But also really try to inject, I think, at least our musical ideas into them. For example, on the Tom Petty tune, originally that’s a harmonica line, I think, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” That’s a harmonica line. You know, we usually do that on guitar with a little wah wah pedal and all of the sudden it’s kind of this different rocky line.

Smitty: Improvisation is not necessarily the focus of what think about as far as our direction as a band and stuff.

Brian: I think it is, but it’s just in a very different level than the obvious way of interpreting the word improvise. It’s about really where is the song's going to go and it’s about who are we tonight. You know, this is the Silverton Hub, we could just create this whole other thing. It’s more about this other fine tone of how are our songs play every time we play, how are they gonna be spiked tonight?

And that’s why people I think start taping gigs and the whole jam band scene, even if it's some band that’s not a real jam band but they’re playing the same tunes. The same tune as always, but a little bit differently. Or you’ll hear sometimes, ‘Oh yeah, they played that version of that tune back in Jersey.’ It’s the same exact rendition or arrangement. It’s just like, you know, maybe the guy had two beers in him more. (Laughter.) Or maybe, on the tape and there was a fight in the background (Laughter.) and they’re just reacting to it. We’re still trying to nail the same arrangement, but there’s outside forces. You’re always going to be improvising, when you’re working with that stuff.

How do you guys decide on what styles to include in your music? Do they come about spontaneously?

Brian: I think it just comes about spontaneously. My attraction to that is that we don’t really try to recreate any other band. It is as simple as it gets for me on the drums. I don’t think about any other drummers, like I might on some other gigs. I just try to support the song.

Christopher

Smitty: Many artists’ and songwriters’ music has touched me emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise. The style of the songs that have reached me, and the styles of artists whose self-expression has been most meaningful to me are the most influential styles in my music, and the most likely to be somehow included or incorporated into my musical expression, I think. Usually, these influences make their way into a song or an idea almost unbeknownst to me. Occasionally, I’ll consciously try to integrate something from a style because I think it will be effective for a certain section of a song or idea.

Martin: I’ve discussed this at length with the other guys in the band after hearing our songs recorded. I hear elements from various influences. I’ll be listening and think, ‘Oh that’s such a Tom Petty-ism or Weezer wall of guitar.’ But, at the same time, I’ll hear that same thing juxtaposed against some drum sound, sax part or vocal nuance and realize that it has its own sound for whatever reason. I know I don’t consciously shoot for that, but I think it’s totally natural for your lifelong pursuit of listening to come out in the music you write and the way you perform.

I think the same holds true for some of the covers we do at bar gigs. Although people know the tunes and melodies, the tunes still have this Smit-Haus sound to them.

You used to have more members in your horn section. Why did you strip that down and how has it affected your sound?

Smitty: A couple of the guys just had other commitments or pursuits that were more financially secure and, I guess, more important to them. They dropped out.

We had trouble replacing them since there were a lot of parts to learn, lots of traveling to do, and not much money to promise to prospective players in return for this commitment. For a long time, we played as a five-piece, with just the sax for horns, me playing a little guitar, and another bass player. The bass player left for a much better gig, but we had grown to like that pared down sound that had developed over that period with him. But again, finding a bass player willing to make such a financially unrewarding but time-consuming commitment was very difficult.

I decided to try playing bass. I’m a much less-proficient bass player than he is, and that kind of limited some of the funk tunes we could pull off, which also made having a horn section even less important. At the same time, the songs we began writing were more rock tunes than funk tunes.

Martin: When Smitty and I started the band in 1997, it was really a totally different project. I almost think of it as another band. It was just a party band that happened to stumble onto some good gigs in New York City. The mission of that group was to recreate that 70’s funk sound. Bands like Parliament Funkadelic, the Ohio Players, Tower of Power, that’s what we were shooting for, but it just didn’t feel so great after a while. The music we were writing didn’t feel honest. It didn’t reflect my musical roots. I felt like I was trying to consciously write in the style of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff and I think a lot of the funk playing we did over the years works its way into our current sound. The horn section just kind of faded away, for the various reasons that Smitty described. [We] began to write more rock tunes and got more interested in writing lyrics, guitar lines and thickening up our drums.

We are now a more guitar-driven band with a focus on writing strong, memorable vocal melodies. Melody is really what we’re looking for in these most recent songs. That’s very different than putting the focus on long, intricate horn lines and shout vocals like “Get Up For The Downstroke.”

Sam: I don't think that the horn section would have nearly as much to do on these "rockier" tunes. I also think having just one horn player brings that person into the band more rather than have a horn section and a rhythm section. It's similar to how the Dave Matthews Band operates with their violinist and sax player. I think the best example of the saxophone as rhythm section was in Morphine, where the saxophone was responsible for a lot of the chording and riffs. I find myself referring to their recordings for guidance.

Sam Albright

What does the saxophone do for your band?

Sam: As the saxophonist, I like the opportunity to use the instrument, not just for solos, but also to add an extra layer to the rhythm section. Usually, I give a pretty straight saxophone sound, but sometimes it's fun to play the parts with a lot of effects. You really start to get into some original sounds since there isn't much precedent in rock and pop music.

Martin: I really like having a saxophone in the band because it not only adds color, but can work in many non-traditional saxophone ways. What I mean is that, at times, Sam is not just blowing over the song in a David Sanborn solo kind of way. He’s actually got a thick rhythm part that compliments Smitty’s vocals or my guitar. My favorite example of this is the bridge on our song “Crazy Enough” where Sam’s sax sounds like some kind of freight train in what would otherwise be a pretty basic chunky guitar bridge. I also like that the sax sets the band apart in some senses from the traditional power trio.

Smitty: Sam’s a great soloist, and we use the sax a lot for that. It also adds a different element that a lot of rock bands don’t have.

Brian: Right. It’s definitely another color to add.

You seem to have a rootsy rock base in a lot of your songs, do you guys listen to a lot of music in the Tom Petty and Springsteen vein? Is this is style you consciously try to incorporate?

Brian: I think unconsciously for me. I didn’t listen to Bruce or Petty before I met Martin and Smitty. Now I understand that music much better and where it comes from, and I see a link between what we play and the style of music played by those masters.

Smitty: Springsteen and Petty are two of my musical heroes.

Martin: It’s not conscious at all. I can hear those influences in our songs, but most of the time I feel like I’d kill to write a tune like Petty or Bruce. I grew up with that music. I feel like much of the guitar I learned when I was younger comes from Petty’s guitar player Mike Campbell. He floors me. My mother used to always play Tom Petty in the car when I would go to hockey practice. I know those influences come out in my writing and performing. Sometimes I do think, what would Mike Campbell play here, but, inevitably, it doesn’t come out like that. It comes out as Martin Small’s rendition of what Mike Campbell might play, which is colored by the scores of other guitar players and instrumentalists I love.

I noticed that Martin does not do many solos on the CD, most of those are left for Sam. Is there something in your music that makes a sax solo more viable than a guitar solo?

Martin: I think that’s an interesting question, but it’s more of a coincidence than anything else. There’s only one guitar solo on that record. The other tunes didn’t seem to scream guitar solo the way “The Same” did. I don’t feel the need to slap a guitar solo on every song to prove that I can play. I pay more attention to the song sonically to decide whether a guitar solo fits. That’s something we discuss when we’re arranging a new song as well.

For example, our next record will have more guitar solos. Indeed, we’re already playing most of those new songs at shows and I’m taking the solos. Why does it work out that way? I can’t tell you why because the tunes just came out that way. I don’t think there is something more viable about a sax solo. What’s most important is making. sure whatever part you add fits the song. Some songs shouldn’t have solos, I think.

Brian: I think the absence of guitar solos on the demo was partially circumstantial.

It was a short demo, just to get the songs down on tape. There is a slightly fuller sound when there is guitar and bass and drums supporting another instrument sometimes as opposed to just bass and drums supporting guitar. Not always, though.

Sam: Yeah, I think it was just this recording. In our live shows, there's probably an equal mix.

Smitty: No, I don’t think so " it’s not about which is more viable. I think we’ll definitely feature more guitar solos on future recordings.

Martin Small

Martin, your guitar work is filled with a lot of arpeggios. Is there somewhere you learned that from, or is that just in a lot of the music you listen to?

Martin: I think it’s sort of a chicken and egg thing in that I can’t quite tell you how it all started. Yes, I learned to arpeggiate parts from various teachers over the years, as well as from messing around on my own. I took a liking to this style of playing both as a tool for rhythm and lead work, so I deliberately sought out other players doing this so I could check out their work.

I listened to a lot of Larry Carlton, Andy Summers, Charlie Hunter, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Pat Martino, Wayne Krantz and lots of others. Guys with big-time chops. I learned a lot of their parts and took what I liked.

With respect to this band, I do think about broken chords a lot. I’ve studied with Wayne Krantz from time to time and he’s helped me think about using arpeggios and different chord shapes in order to be fatter. I try to use open strings a lot in my chord voicings and then arperggiate the voicing, which was a powerful technique for guys like Andy Summers and The Edge.

It’s a big sound, which works well in a trio and affords you a way to be big dynamically. Also, when you finally break out into kicking, chunking, rock power chords, there’s a real element of release. Brian has also been a big help in encouraging me to open up and play my voicings and my style of rhythm playing.

The rhythm section tends to stay mellow instead of pounding into the songs, is that required for the type of music you play? Are there any heavy aspects to your music?

Brian: Once again, circumstantial. I never feel mellow about what I play or when I’m playing. If it reaches the listener that way, so be it. It’s not usually the intent. Plenty of the new songs have a much harder edge.

Smitty: We don’t feel mellow. There are certainly times when we feel it’s important to lay back, so the melody and the words can be more prominent. Sometimes being softer can affect extreme intensity in the music, and I think even if we’re not loud we’re always “pounding into the songs” somehow.

Martin: I also think this is just a coincidence. The tunes worked out that way and there was no conscious discussion or formula. Indeed, the newer songs often seem to be the polar opposite. The rhythm section comes out pounding. Some of our newer songs start with the chorus and full-blown distorted guitars and three-part vocal harmonies, as opposed to the clean guitar parts and rim shot drums on this most recent record. We definitely think a lot about dynamics and how being loud or soft contributes to the atmosphere of a song, not to mention transitions from soft to loud and all the areas in between.

Sam: It also makes a difference that we have only one guitar and a saxophone, so it's harder to get the "wall-o-sound".

How have you developed such a steady following in your home base, New York? What does that mean to you? How do you plan on maintaining it?

Martin: I think we started like most bands, begging and pleading your family and friends to come out to the gig. Then you keep begging them to bring their friends, and friends of friends, and so on and so forth. Sometimes I feel like the begging never ends, but, in the last year, I’ve seen a lot more people starting to return without my persistent supplications. We just try to put on the best shows we can and be reasonable about how often we play NYC.

Smit-Haus' First Appearance at Le Bar Bat (New York, NY)

If you play too often, you wind up saturating your audience because people won’t come see you every week. I don’t care how good you are as a rock band. In the city, you are competing against tons of other bands, bars, theaters, restaurants, parties and who knows what else. You’re not the only act in town, so we try to build some anticipation for our shows and keep our attendance up. We try to move from venue to venue to give people a change of pace. We’ve also managed to find a lot of help and guidance from the booking people at the Lion’s Den, Le Bar Bat and the Village Underground. We also make a point of promoting shows hard though e-mails, our website (www.smithaus.com), [and] going to the clubs to hand out CD samplers and flyers.

Whatever it takes. If we can get two more people, that’s two more than we would have brought without our promotion. We’ve been so lucky to have a very supportive group of people attending our shows. They tell friends, bring others and even offer to help promote outside the city. That’s how we’ve managed to get out of the city more and more.

Smiity: I think we’ve developed a strong following by steadily playing here for the past few years. At first it was mostly a lot of friends and family who came to see us. But over time we’ve had many people join the mailing list, buy our CDs, and spread the word to many others. It’s been an organic growth, with not much of a budget to rigorously promote or advertise the group. We’ve relied on mailing out and handing out fliers, and just getting the name out there through live performances. We’ve also been careful not to play in the city too often. It’s a lot to ask people to come out and see you, pay $10 or $15, and commit a weekend night to that. We try to keep it to once a month or so.

Recently, we’ve been playing a lot of different rooms in the city, which has helped expose us to new audiences, and increased our fan base as well. Playing different rooms also helps because different parts of the city are easier for different people to get to. It means a tremendous amount to have so many people who come out to see us regularly, and who enjoy our songs. We hope to continue to expand this group of people.

You have really gotten yourself booked in many states, how have you accomplished this? How important do you think being persistent offstage is to being in a band?

Martin: If it were up to us, we’d be playing seven nights a week. I feel like we have too many holes in our schedule, whereas a lot of people look at our calendar and remark that we play so much compared to other bands at our relatively low and unconnected level. We don’t have a booking agent or manager. We do all of this stuff on our own and it’s an enormous amount of work. We make all of our own press kits, maintain our website, with some help from programmer friends, and try to make sure they are as professional as possible, that is, full of information and visually striking without being impossible to read or get right to the point. Our thought is that if the stuff you send out doesn’t look professional, people will think the same about your music.

We spend a ton of time on the phone tracking booking people down and trying to show swap with other bands. We also do a lot of research trying to find new spots to play. I guess we also try to spread ourselves over different markets and thereby increase our chances of securing a gig. We love to play our original material, but there are a lot of good gigs out there where the venue is looking for cover bands.

Smit-Haus at Freddy's in Brooklyn, NY

We’ve worked really hard to develop a wide array of cover songs so that we can walk into those gigs and be as professional about playing covers as any other full-time cover band. Most importantly, we never feel that we’re above any venue or crowd. We’ll pretty much play anywhere, as long as we can cover our expenses and maybe manage to eat. The room isn’t always perfect, but it’s been a while since I can remember an audience that didn’t like what we’re doing. Along those lines, we also try to be as classy as possible. We don’t fight, break things, treat the staff poorly, lie or deal with booking people in a disrespectful manner. This really does go a long way.

Finally, what you do off-stage is every bit as important as what you do at the gig, that’s my take. You make your own opportunities by staying smart on the business end. You have to be working all the time, on stage, on the phone, on your instrument, on the web and anywhere else there is a lead. If you don’t do it, there is someone out there who will and they’ll beat you to the punch. But, I could be wrong. I suppose some people just get lucky.

My father always says, “It’s better to be lucky than smart.” I just wouldn’t be happy waiting around for that big call. I like that we work so hard, I only wish more people would give us a chance to play.

Smitty: We’ve managed to book ourselves quite a bit. Most of that comes from being vigilant in sending out press kits, making follow up phone calls, follow-up to follow-up phone calls, and tracking down booking people at different clubs. They’re amazingly elusive. It helps to try to be professional when doing the booking, whether it’s putting together a really good looking press package, taking the time to find out the contact person’s name before you send the kit, or maintaining a detailed record of correspondence you’ve had with each club. These will all increase your chances of getting booked at new places. Often times it is difficult to convince people in other states to let us play since often we’re trying to develop new followings, and not attracting a built in crowd as in New York City.

I think our willingness to travel a lot also helps, even sometimes when the money is not good. We’re extremely committed to spreading our music to as many people and states as possible. Being persistent offstage is most important to being in a band. The time you spend on stage actually performing is a tiny percentage of the time you need to put in for a band trying to make it to the next level. There are always a thousand things that need to get done, whether it’s practicing your instrument, sending out posters, making phone calls, assembling and sending out press kits, etc. Being on stage is the reward for all the hard work we do offstage, and the reason we work so hard offstage. The harder you work offstage the more you get to be on stage. I think ideally we’d like to relinquish some of the booking responsibilities to an agent or a manager, but for now we’re still doing it all ourselves.

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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